chapter  48
8 Pages

Bulwer-Lytton on Byron’s popularity

1833

Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, novelist, man of letters and politician. Extracts from his assessment of Lord Byron in England and the English, 1833. We attributed truth and depth to Lord Byron's poetry in proportion as it expressed our own thoughts; as in the affairs of life, or in the speeches of orators, we esteem those men the most sensible who agree the most with ourselves—embellishing and exalting only our own impressions. If Byron had, in his early poems, conceived the history of Othello, he would have given the murder of Desdemona, but never the interviews with Iago. Thus, neither in the conception of the plot, nor the fertile invention of incident, nor, in the dissection of passions, can the early poems of Lord Byron rank with the higher masterpieces of Poetical Art. Sir Philip Sidney represented the popular sentiment in Elizabeth's day—Byron that in our own.